What Is a Workplace Safety Checklist? (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 22, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There are safety standards that are necessary for companies to uphold to protect their employees, customers, and the public. To ensure that they're meeting these standards, companies often conduct audits with the help of checklists that they developed internally. Learning more about these safety checklists may be helpful if you're part of the team that ensures an organization's compliance with these regulations. In this article, we define what a workplace safety checklist is, discuss 14 categories that it may include, and provide three examples of safety checklists that companies use.

What is a workplace safety checklist?

A workplace safety checklist refers to a set of instructions or procedures that a company uses to ensure that they're in compliance with workplace safety regulations and standards. It's a useful tool when conducting safety audits because it helps identify potential hazards in the workplace and determines if a particular work environment is safe. It also helps clarify inspection responsibilities and allows inspectors to provide a report more easily.

Related: The Importance of Health and Safety in the Workplace (Benefits and Tips)

14 categories in a workplace safety inspection checklist

Inspection checklists may vary depending on the type of workplace and the specific regulations that apply to it. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) offers a safety inspection checklist that organizations can use to ensure that they're adhering to the standards for workplace safety. These are a few categories in the checklist and the items that may comprise them:

1. Building

Items for inspection in this category may include doors, elevators, floors, roofs, stairs, and windows. Inspectors usually look for potential hazards, such as trip hazards, loose handrails, and slippery surfaces. They also check if emergency exits are clearly marked and if they're free from obstruction.

Related: 11 Workplace Safety Meeting Topics to Consider (With Tips)

2. Control mechanisms

These are devices and systems that are useful in manipulating the flow of materials or people in a work environment. Items in this category include start-up, shut-down, and speed controls in machinery. Inspectors often check for proper functioning of these controls.

3. Electrical

Electrical items for inspection usually include circuit breakers, cords, electrical panels, outlets, switchboards, and wiring. Inspectors look for potential hazards, such as loose wires and damaged insulation. They also check if these items have proper labels and if employees are using them according to manufacturer's instructions.

4. Environment

The environment category includes items that pertain to the work environment itself, such as air quality, lighting, and noise levels. Inspectors often check for hazards, such as excessive noise levels that can lead to hearing loss, and poor ventilation that may result in respiratory problems. They also check if the work environment is conducive to employee productivity, such as if the lighting is adequate and if the temperature is comfortable.

5. Fire safety equipment

This category includes items that are important for ensuring that people and property have protection in the event of a fire. These include fire extinguishers and hydrants, and sprinkler systems. Inspectors often check for proper functioning of these items, and proper maintenance and training of employees on how to use them.

6. First aid and hygiene facilities

This category includes items such as emergency showers, eyewash stations, and first aid kits. Inspectors make sure that these are functioning and properly maintained, and that employees know how to use them. First aid and hygiene facilities are important for ensuring that employees are able to safely and quickly respond to workplace accidents and injuries.

7. Hand tools

These are one of the most common types of tools in use in workplaces. They're also among the items that are often the subject of safety inspections because people often use them in close proximity to others and they can pose a serious hazard with incorrect usage. Some of the items in a hand tool inspection are saws, hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches.

8. Hazardous materials

These are products, such as corrosive, explosive, flammable, infectious, oxidizing, and toxic substances that can potentially harm people or damage the environment. Inspectors often check for proper storage, labelling, and handling of these materials. They also check for proper ventilation and employee training on how to work with these materials safely.

Related: What Are Workplace Hazards? (And How to Address Them)

9. Personal protective equipment (PPE)

This is clothing and gear that people wear to protect themselves from potential hazards in their work environment. PPE can include items such as gloves, hard hats, respirators, and safety eyewear and footwear. Inspectors often check for proper fit, function, and maintenance of these items. They also make sure that employees know how to use PPE properly.

10. Pressurized and powered equipment

Pressurized equipment refers to a type of machinery or system that uses pressurized fluids or gases, such as air compressors, propane tanks, and pressure washers. Powered equipment describes machinery that uses electricity or other forms of power to operate, such as welding machines and electric drills. The installation, operation, and maintenance of these pieces of equipment are typically the focus of an inspection.

11. Production equipment

This is any type of equipment a company uses in the production process. It can range from simple hand tools to large pieces of machinery. Inspectors ensure that a company is able to maintain these and that the production team knows how to operate them safely and properly. Some of the items in this category are assembly lines, conveyor belts, and forklifts.

12. Psychosocial hazards

These are conditions in the workplace that can adversely affect a person's mental and emotional well-being. They can include factors, such as job stress, harassment, and bullying. Inspectors often check for these hazards by observing the work environment and talking to employees. They also check for proper employee training on how to identify and address these conditions.

Related: What Are the Elements of Psychological Safety at Work?

13. Roadways and walkways

This category is a common area of focus for workplace safety inspectors. It consists of areas where employees travel to get to different parts of the workplace. Inspectors often check for trip hazards, such as loose flooring or debris in walkways, and for proper signage and lighting. They also check for proper maintenance of these areas, such as snow and ice removal in winter.

14. Storage facilities

This category includes any area the company uses to store materials, such as shelves, cabinets, racks, and bins. Inspections of these areas often focus on cleanliness, proper labelling, organization, and maintenance. Inspectors may also check the proper storage of materials, especially if these are flammable or toxic.

3 examples of workplace inspection checklists

Workplace safety checks help ensure that employees are working in a safe and healthy environment by identifying hazards in the workplace and helping to prevent accidents and injuries. They can also improve morale and productivity by making sure that employees feel comfortable and safe at work. To conduct safety inspections effectively, it's important to develop a checklist that's specific to the company's needs. Here are examples of workplace inspection checklists:

1. Self-inspection on construction sites

A self-inspection checklist for a construction company employee includes a variety of items. Some of the items on the list are personal protective equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses, and gloves. Other items relate to the work site itself, such as trip hazards and proper signage. The list may also include equipment used on the construction site, such as power tools and ladders. While this checklist may vary in content depending on the company, in many cases, it may consist of these items:

  • general health and safety provisions

  • life-saving equipment and PPE management

  • fire protection guidelines

  • proper handling, usage, storage, and disposal of materials

  • welding, cutting, steel erection, and demolition practices

  • masonry and concrete construction guidelines

  • electrical wiring and power transmission

  • equipment usage and maintenance

Related: How to Become a Safety Officer in Construction (With Skills)

2. Housekeeping inspection

A housekeeping safety inspection checklist addresses the cleanliness, organization, and condition of a workplace. Inspectors often focus on areas such as stairways, ladders, ramps, floors, walkways and work areas. They also check for proper storage of materials, proper ventilation, and employee training on safety standards. The purpose of the checklist is to ensure that the workplace is safe for employees, customers, and visitors. A housekeeping inspection checklist may also include these items:

  • availability of potable water

  • guidelines on the consumption of food, beverage, and tobacco products

  • pest and insect control

  • cleanliness of bathroom facilities

  • cleaning and servicing schedules

  • ventilation and dust reduction and prevention

  • adequate lighting

Related: How to Perform a Safety Audit (With Definition and Tips)

3. Fall protection

A fall protection safety inspection checklist is a tool that safety inspectors and company employees may use to identify potential hazards related to falls. This type of checklist is useful in workplaces where there's a potential for employees to fall from a height, such as construction sites, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities. The checklist can help to ensure that employees receive proper training on relevant safety procedures and that the work environment is free of hazards that can cause a fall. The fall protection safety inspection checklist may include these items:

  • availability of a fall protection program

  • education on fall protection

  • aerial lifting regulations and guidelines

  • guidelines on ladder usage, storage, and maintenance

  • equipment operations and maintenance

  • inspection of scaffolds

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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